Measure the ROI at Trade Shows (Using the Right Mix of Creative and Promotional Products)
Editor's note: This piece was originally written for end-users, but the advice can be applied to distributors as well.
You're going to a trade show, and you've decided you need some promotional products to give away. So what's new, what's cute or what's novel, you ask? "Well there's this," your sales counselor responds. "Sorry, we've done that," you say. "Well, huh, have you tried this?" he retorts. "That won't work, our competition did that last year," you reply. Sound familiar?
First, if your promotional products sales professional is doing their job, they will be asking some very direct questions prior to making a presentation of product, packaging and method of distribution. With 300,000-plus items to choose from, picking the right thing is nothing more than a crapshoot. The person in charge of your trade show events should be asking questions like these:
- What is the purpose of this show?
- What is your objective by attending?
- What do you hope to accomplish with the promotional products you select?
- Have you ever evaluated your return on investment (ROI) from your shows?
- How many people will be attending?
- Are they all your buyers or clients?
Every year more and more products are being introduced into the market, and after a while it all looks the same. What if a program was developed that helped you generate a true (ROI) return on your trade show investment? During my tenure as a promotional products consultant, I was absolutely amazed at how ineffective most marketing managers were at effectively managing the results of their trade shows.
Did you know that, if done correctly, promotional products can easily be used as a channel to measure your success or failure at a trade show?
Several years ago, while attending an apparel show I watched as two women stood at the end of the trade show booth, stuffed shirts into a bag and handed them out to a long line of people. I stood there in amazement because their sales pitch was nothing more than a smile and "there you go, see ya," and so they went. Never did one recipient hear a sales pitch. They never stepped foot into the booth. A business card wasn't even requested in exchange for the shirt sample, but when the shirt stock was depleted I heard one of the young women say to the other, "Wow! that was a great show; we gave out over 1,000 T-shirts." Did I miss something?